What are the Steps to Starting my Own Business in Canada?

Being an entrepreneur (someone who runs their own business) can be very rewarding and there are many resources and support services available for anyone who wants to start a business or buy a franchise or existing business.

Immigration Status

It is important to understand the immigration process and your immigration status before you begin to start a business in Canada.

These are the important points you need to know:

  • Generally, you must be a Permanent Resident (Landed Immigrant) or have Canadian Citizenship to start a business.
  • There are rules about bringing foreign workers to Canada, so be sure to research this if you are planning to hire from outside of Canada.

Find out if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is not the right choice for everyone, and there are a number of tools you can use to help determine if it is the right choice for you.

Decide what kind of business you want to own

Will you start a new business, buy a franchise or take over an existing business? Learn about the benefits and challenges here.

Once this has been determined, you can start the first draft of your business plan to help you consider all of the factors involved with owning your own business. Futurpreneur offers a free online business planning tool to help get you started.

Choose a legal structure for your business

You can choose several ways of organizing your business – this is known as a business structure. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. When deciding on a business structure, you should consider issues such as personal liability, business name protection, tax advantages and registration or filing costs. These options are outlined here.

Decide how to finance your business

There will always be a cost to starting a business. Once you have completed your business plan, you will be able to determine how much money you need. There are several common sources for financing a business such as loans, grants, private sector financing, using personal savings and money from family and friends. You can explore the different types of financing available to you here.

Bank loans

As a newcomer to Canada, you might not be able to provide all the information that banks want before they will grant you a business loan, such as an extensive credit history. Even if you have a good history in your home country, this will not be considered by Canadian banks. Some banks do offer programs specific to Newcomers that can help you build your credit and you should visit several banks to find out what options are available to you.

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) offers loan financing of up to $45,000 through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). CYBF has also adjusted the application process for people who are new to Canada and do not yet have a credit history who may be eligible for up to $15,000 from CYBF and the BDC.

To find out more about starting a business in Canada, please review CYBF’s Guide for Newcomer Entrepreneurs.